Best Day

“This was the best day of my life”

This is what Matt had to say after spending the day with friends Saturday, August 9th, 2014.

from left to right: Dave Hada, Peggy Scanlon & Satya, Marina Beerling & Lacy, Nick Beerling & Rylee, Ryan Aguilar & Bodhi, Nancy Nguyen, Matt Foushee, Debbie Foushee, Leslie Drosman, Ari Drosman, Phong Nguyen & Kai, Ryan Selway & Emma

from left to right: Dave Hada, Peggy Scanlon & Satya, Marina Beerling & Lacy, Nick Beerling & Rylee, Ryan Aguilar & Bodhi, Nancy Nguyen, Matt Foushee, Debbie Foushee, Leslie Drosman, Ari Drosman & Gavin, Phong Nguyen & Kai, Ryan Selway & Emma

Matt’s friends/fellow surfers Ryan Aguilar, Ryan Selway, Ari Drosman, Phong Nguyen, Nick Beerling and Dave Hada invited him over for a Barbecue. Matt showed up thinking this was just a fun day with friends and family, which it was, but with a twist.  Matt’s friends decided to take a group photo to capture this fun day.  After the photo, which was taken in front of a closed garage door, it was suggested a photo be taken of Matt with the board he was going to borrow from his friend Ryan Aguilar for his first surf session on the anniversary of his accident. So the garage door was opened to get the board and this is what happened:

This was the most amazing day for all who were involved.  Matt was completely overcome with gratitude and it was contagious because in turn those who surrounded him were overcome as well. Before the accident Matt was like a sleeping volcano filled with joy.  This accident a year ago has shaken him, awoken him. When he emerged from the coma it was like the top burst open and joy flows from him, spreading to everyone who is near him, spilling out happiness, love and gratitude.  Not only have we all been gifted with his second chance on life but we are gifted with his endless smile and infinite outpouring of positivism.

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Matt and ryan aguilarimageimageimage

Matt’s mantra is “Others see my accident as a tragedy but I see it as a blessing.”  Matt says his life is so much better since the accident.  He cherishes life and its fragility. He truly is happier than he has ever been.

Matt, as well as his friends and family want to extend a big heartfelt “thank you” to Cole of Cole Surfboards.  Cole and Matt’s friends hooked him up with a killer custom board to get him back in the line-up. They put one of Matt’s favorite quotes on the board.

You’re never too old, never to bad, never too late and never too sick, to start from scratch once again.  -Bikram Choudhury

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Matt continually rubbed his hand over the freshly sanded board, letting his fingers slide over the words as tears slid down his face.

hand on board

Cole, who typically shapes short boards, is Matt’s favorite board shaper.  He has ridden Cole boards for many years and has come to know Cole personally.  It meant the world to Matt to have this custom long board to ride for his very first surf session.

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Matt had planned to surf on the anniversary of his accident at San Onofre State beach but due to the crowds at this particular beach, there is concern not everyone will be able to get in through the gates.  The new date is September 7th at Doheney State Beach.  Matt tentatively plans to paddle out at around 10:00am.  Friends and family will be there all day and everyone is invited!  Matt is looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces as well as new faces of supporters he has never even met.  

 

shaka matt

SHAKA!

THANK YOU AGUILAR, SELWAY, COLE, PHONG, ARI, NICK AND DAVE! Matt will cherish your generosity and friendship always.  We all look forward to many more BEST DAY’S together.

Swim, Paddle, Surf!

Since the earlier update a few months back Matt has progressed considerably physically and mentally.  He continues with his classes at school and is enjoying them very much.  In regards to his school he says, “I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

Several months back Matt decided to set a goal for himself.  He wants to be back in the water surfing August 31st which is the one year anniversary of his accident.  Matt is getting stronger and stronger day by day.  He has been taking long walks and even doing pull ups conditioning his body.  Anyone who knows Matt knows that he has two passions in life (besides the love of his life Nancy of course!).  Bikram yoga and Surfing.  Matt is most at home when sweating in a hot yoga class or shredding up the waves of the ocean.  While more time must pass before he is cleared to get back into the “hot room” for yoga, he is able to work on getting back into the ocean.

Swim….

In preparation for his August 31st goal, he has been swimming in a pool regularly working on his endurance.  On June 29th, 2014 Matt spent the day in San Clemente at the beach and did a practice swim in the ocean.  It was the first time he had been back in his beloved ocean since the accident.

All suited up!

All suited up!

Matt and his sister Ashlee as he prepares to get in the ocean for the first time.

Matt and his sister Ashlee as he prepares to get in the ocean for the first time.

Matt, Aguilar and Debbie supporting Matt while he walks to the water.

Matt, Aguilar and Debbie supporting Matt while he walks to the water.

This was such a special day, his closest friends and family watched him walk into the water and he was easily able to swim all the way out to the end of the pier and back with one of his best friends, Ryan Aguilar, at his side.

Aguilar and Matt getting in the water.

Aguilar and Matt getting in the water.

Matt said it was one of the best days he has ever had and the laughter between these two friends out there in the water could be heard by his family who spectated from the pier.

Matt and Aguilar floating in the sea.

Matt and Aguilar floating in the sea.

See those two little specks out there?  They swam out super far!

See those two little specks out there? They swam out super far!

After the long swim he stayed in the water for several hours just letting the waves crash over him.  He said he loved feeling the salty water hitting his face.  Matt’s mom Debbie, sister Ashlee and girlfriend Nancy watched with pride as he completed this maiden voyage.

Paddle….

A month later on July 27th, 2014, Matt paddled out on his surf board along with his two best friends Ryan Aguilar and Ryan Selway.

 

Matt, Selway, Aguilar and Debbie walking to the waters edge with Matt.

Matt, Selway, Aguilar and Debbie walking to the water’s edge with Matt.

Aguilar, Selway, Matt and Ashlee posing for a pre-paddle pict.

Aguilar, Selway, Matt and Ashlee posing for a pre-paddle pict.

Matt said it felt so good to be out on his board and he couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone other than Selway and Aguilar.

Paddle Matt Ags Paddle Matt Ags Selway 4 Paddle Matt Ags Selway 2

They paddled out to the end of the San Clemente pier and just hung out, floating in the water talking and of course laughing a lot as these three friends always do.

Paddle Matt Ags Selway 5 Paddle Matt Ags Selway 6

They just floated for a while, cracking each other up telling jokes.

They just floated for a while, cracking each other up.

After his paddle Matt went back out into the water and splashed around in the waves with his sister Ashlee.  Matt’s sister, brother-in-law and nephews, his mom Debbie, best friends Aguilar and Selway and girlfriend Nancy all were present for support.

Surf….

Since Matt woke up after the accident, besides being the most delightfully positive and enthusiastically optimistic person ever, Matt exudes a forward momentum that is almost tangible.  Next stop on his journey is SURFING August 31, 2014.  The plan is to surf at San Onofre State Beach, a.k.a. “Old Mans”, but Matt wants to be sure everyone who wants to be there is able to attend so the location is subject to change. A confirmation of the location will be updated soon.  Matt ordered a special helmet for surfing to protect his brain which is still healing from the trauma.  He can’t wait to get out in the water with his friends and ride some waves.  Matt welcomes anyone who would like to attend.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Unstoppable

Matt continues to move onward in his recovery with an unstoppable forward momentum.

Matt has spent the past several months attending Winways (a special facility for individuals with brain injuries) for rehabilitation and has made some astounding progress and he continues to attend one day per week.  At Winways he works on speech, occupational and physical therapy and has progressed in leaps and bounds.  Over the past few months Matt moved from a walker to a quad cane to a standard cane and can now walk unassisted with his standard cane.  He even recently began swimming preparing himself for his goal of getting on a surf board this summer.  He says getting in the pool and moving around in the water feels amazing.

Last month Matt, along with many of you Foush Followers, attended Coastline College’s 8th Annual Walk for Brain Injury Awareness to raise money for the specialized program they have available for people with brain injuries just like Matt.  Matt set and attained the goal of completing the walk and was able to finish on his own with his friends and family surrounded him, cheering him on.  As he approached the finish line supported by his girlfriend Nancy, he released her hand and in a very emotional moment took the final steps across the finish line walking without any assistance.  It was such a beautiful moment.  Nacy’s brother Vu had beautiful custom shirts made for everyone on Matt’s team which read “The Foush Followers” on the front.

finish line walk

Matt is pictured here with girlfriend Nancy as he releases her hand to walk through the finish line on his own.

 

finish line front view

Here he goes, walking across the finish line. Could you possibly be any more amazing Matt?

matt and nancy

Having just started school at Coastline College Matt describes the opportunity to attend as a second chance.

Look at Matt go- pictured here on his first day of school.

Look at Matt go- pictured here on his first day of school.

Matt is now beginning his second week of school.  He said, “The first week I was really wiped out but now I think I’m getting used to it.  This is my next step in recovery.  My school overlooks the ocean and I feel so at home, I know I’m taking a step in the right direction. This is the perfect place for me right now.”

Matt is taking several classes at Coastline College;  Psycho-Social for one hour, Computers for one hour,  and Cognitive for two hours.  He also takes a smart device class on Thursdays where he is learning to use his i-pad.  His schedule is quite busy between school, swimming at the gym and continued therapy at Winways on Fridays.

Recently I was able to have dinner with Matt and he constantly laughed and joked and in-between shoveling enormous amounts of food into his mouth he grinned from ear to ear with that contagious smile of his.  I remember telling Matt that he looked good, that he looked happy, I mean really happy.  He replied:

“I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.   Some people see what happened to me as a tragedy but I see it as a blessing. Physically I have a long way to go but mentally I am a much stronger person since the accident.”

Then we both cried.  Then we laughed.  Then cried a little more.

ability to heal

 

Matt’s fund-raising page can be viewed here:

http://www.gofundme.com/4ow29w

Yoga Fund-Raiser 12/18/13

Just a reminder:

Matt’s big yoga fund-raiser is tomorrow, 12/18/13.  The first yoga class begins at 6:00am and the last class starts at 8:30pm.  Stop by anytime!

fund-raiser flier

Please help spread the word, all proceeds will be donated to Matt to pay for his rehabilitation.  At this fund-raiser you will have the chance to bid on this autographed jersey from Ryan Dungey and gloves autographed by Tito Ortiz.

Autographed items

Autographed items from amazing athletes,Ryan Dungey and Tito Ortiz! Thanks Ryan Dungey!

 

Thanks Tito Ortiz!

Thanks Tito Ortiz!

***There will also be a raffle for a 4 day 3 night vacation at one of 200 resort locations!***

Vacation package donated by Jay Yadon of www.roamba.com. Thank you!

Stop by eat some yummy food, do some yoga if choose and check out the autographed items.  This is a good opportunity to score some unique Christmas gifts or just donate for a great cause.

Matt is making lots of progress in his therapy which is wonderful!  It is proving to be very costly though and the medical bills continue to pile up.  Matt also has a fund-raiser page for anyone who cannot make it to the event tomorrow but wants to donate.  http://www.gofundme.com/4ow29w

A big THANK YOU to Megan White, Patrice Simon and Lauren McCoy for organizing this cool event for Matt.  And thanks also to Ryan Dungey, Tito Oritiz and Jay Yadon for their generous contributions!

Thanks!! Hope to see everyone tomorrow at Bikram Yoga at The Camp!

2937 Bristol Street- Ste A-200

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

714-429-7900

Parting is such sweet sorrow — Homeward Bound — Travelin’ Man

Matt has had a very eventful last five days or so.  His last day at St. Jude Medical Center was Wednesday, November 27th.  St. Jude was his third destination on his road to recovery, and just like at the first two stops, he was provided fantastic health care by the resident staff.  Also, just like at Kindred once he regained consciousness, he had the staff wrapped around his finger.  For anyone who knows Matt, they know he has the the most friendly, appreciative, fun loving personality.  Certain nurses would check in on him even when working shifts where they were not directly assigned to him.  Matt would take the time to learn every staff members name who would wander into his room, regardless of whether they were directly responsible for his care, or making sure his hospital room stayed clean.  Such respect for the staff along with his infectious fun loving personality endeared him to all staff members that came in contact with him.

Sweet and Sorrow

Sweet and Sorrow

On Wednesday, Matt moved on to his fourth destination in his road to recovery:  Home!  His return home was just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.  His return home couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time considering the significance of the holiday and how thankful Matt, the Foushee family, and Matt’s friends are for his recovery.

Home at last!

Home at last!

After spending nearly three months in the hospital recovering, Matt was itching to spend a little time outdoors and enjoy a couple of the things he dearly missed.  Being a holiday weekend, Matt received a brief break from his physical therapy sessions.  On Saturday, Matt, Debbi, and Nancy made good use of the time off and went on a road trip down to Newport to visit the beach for the first time in three months.

Back to the beach

Back to the beach

Good for the soul!

Good for the soul!

After spending some time at the beach, the garbage disposal that is Matt’s belly demanded satisfaction.  It was time for yet another first in a few months:  fish tacos.

Good for the belly!

Good for the belly!

Even though Matt is now home, he still has a long road to recovery and a lot of work to do.  What is next for Matt?  Starting Monday, he will now attend the rehabilitation facility Winways close to home in Orange, California where he will be dropped off in the morning and picked up in the late afternoon.  This facility specializes in rehabilitation for individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.  Matt continues to work on regaining the strength and dexterity with the right side of his body.  Additionally, he will continue to re-learn how to perform the daily responsibilities of caring for himself that so many of us take for granted and never think twice about.  He will attend this facility Monday through Friday for the entire month of December, and at the end of the month then the facility staff will evaluate his progress determine what comes next for Matt.

On a holiday weekend where we are reminded to give thanks, in addition to all the other things in life we are thankful for, we are especially thankful Matt is alive, and we are thankful for his miraculous recovery.  Additionally, the Foushee family and Matt’s friends offer our heartfelt thanks to ALL who have offered their support, prayers, and well wishes to Matt as he has traveled his road to recovery that started in a tiny single room Red Cross hospital in Mexico to home in Orange, and beyond.

You can visit Matt’s fund-raiser page here: http://www.gofundme.com/4ow29w

Thankful

Thanksgiving is upon us and this is the perfect time to reflect on some of the things Matt and his family are grateful for and thankful for this year.

There is this:

Matt is ALIVE and doing so well! Thanks for being such a fighter Matt!

Matt is ALIVE and doing so well! Thanks for being such a fighter Matt!

It is important for everyone to know how much they are appreciated.  Every person who has read this blog, every person who has kept Matt and his family in their thoughts and prayers, those who have donated time and money and helped spread the word of Matt’s story, THANK YOU.  And thank you to the friends and family who stayed by Matt’s side when he was at his worst, holding his hands, rubbing his feet, caressing his arms, and even restraining him when he was trying to rip his trach out and yank his neck brace off.  Each one of you have been such an important part of his recovery.  Matt is beyond thankful.  Matt’s family is beyond thankful.

There are several people who have been at the heart of Matt’s cheerleading team.  We will begin with Matt’s mom Debbie.  Matt talks non-stop about how thankful he is to have her.  She has rarely left his side since his accident and has provided him with a level of support that only a mom can.  Debbie Foushee, Matt is a lucky man to have you as his mom. The unwavering dedication to your son has been a vital key to his astounding recovery process.

Matt’s siblings.  Russ, Amy and Ashlee.  All three have taken time away from their busy families, with small children, driven many miles and spent countless hours at Matt’s side. Russ, Amy and Ashlee, Matt is so thankful to you three, he knows how much you all have worried about him and how you’ve been there supporting him.

Fred Foushee, Matt’s dad has been very supportive and in the tough position of living out-of-state.  Matt has looked forward to and really enjoyed his visits and phone conversations with his dad.  Fred’s hiking buddies have all been incredibly supportive as well.

The kindness of strangers has also been remarkable. So many have reached out asking what they can do, offering prayers, and donating money.  Matt’s friend Lauren McCoy has brought several strangers to the picture who have gone far above and beyond.

Tito Ortiz, world-famous MMA fighter and a friend of Lauren’s, has been a fan and supporter of Matt during this time.  Tito has taken time away from his very busy schedule to sign posters for Matt with encouraging words, he called Matt in the hospital and even made Matt a video.  Tito- who is one bad ‘A’ fighter and athlete said that Matt was an inspiration to him.  His words and support have made a huge impression on Matt and really helped him through some of the toughest moments he will ever face.

Dustin Penner hockey player from the Anaheim Ducks has also taken the time to autograph and write a personal message on a poster for Matt. Dustin always asks about him and has offered a great deal of support and has some hockey tickets waiting for Matt when he is ready.

RVCA clothing (a totally awesome clothing brand that Matt happens to love!) has also been a huge supporter.  Matt’s friend Lauren showed up at the hospital with a supply of clothing the owner donated to him as soon as he heard about his story.  This was such an uplifting and generous gift.  Thank you RVCA!

A nurse at Matt’s second hospital is friends with WCT Dream Tour pro-surfer Brett Simpson.  She told Brett Matt’s story and he also gave him an autographed poster.

Matt’s friend Lauren McCoy has offered a great deal of time and energy to Matt and his recovery, often spending the night at the hospital at his side as well as providing emotional support to his family.  Matt’s friend Megan White has also been a support to Matt and his family spending nights at his bedside, helping promote his fund-raising page to many news outlets such as surfline, surfing magazine and others, and organizing a yoga fund-raiser for him. A big thank you to Nancy Nguyen as well for all of her time, dedication and friendship to Matt.  Nancy provides Matt with a strong sense of comfort and she has been incredibly generous with her time.

Thanks to:

Patrice who owns Matt’s favorite Bikram Yoga studio. Dr. Meister who connected the Foushee’s to Dr. Wheeler- the oral surgeon who went waaaay above and beyond for Matt and did an amazing job. Carrie and Shawna and Paul, thank you!  Thanks to the entire Selway family, and the Aguilar family.  Ryan Selway and Ryan Aguilar, your friendship and deep connection to Matt has seen him through some dark days; he is thankful for you two.  The Bolen family (Dawn you’ve been an incredible support to Debbie!), Pops and Olga, Uncle Ben and Toni and Toni’s family.

There are so many to thank, so many who have offered and continue to offer love, support, prayer, and friendship to all of the Foushee’s.

Last but most certainly not least, thank you to Matt.  You have been an inspiration to countless people.  Thanks for being so strong, for being such a fighter, for taking this second chance at life.  We need you in our lives, Matt, you are here for a reason.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!  The Foushee Family is thankful for you!

(p.s. I am posting this from out of the country and we are having computer issues at our location so none of the great pictures I have of Matt with many of the above mentioned people can be added to this post. Sorry!  I will add them when I return!)

Home

Home sweet home.  These three words are frequently found printed on coffee mugs, needlepoint pillows made by Granny, or maybe a magnet on the fridge.  They are words often taken for granted, commonly finding their way very casually into daily conversation.

Today those three words were immensely powerful for Matt and his family, the significance of which will never be forgotten.

Matt got to go home today for the first time since his accident.  Yesterday, when he was asked, “What is the first thing you will do when you get home tomorrow?”  He was very quick to answer, “I want to see the doggies!”

Matt had a happy reunion with his family dogs.  They missed him so much!

Matt had a happy reunion with his family dogs. They missed him so much!

This homecoming is another milestone Matt’s family hoped and prayed they would be able to experience with him again.  After the accident no one knew if this day would ever come.  Not only did Matt have a happy reunion with his dogs, but he also had a happy reunion with his surf boards!  He was so happy to see them and to be in his own room.

Matt got a little taste of what it will be like next week when he gets to move home to his old room.

Matt got a little taste of what it will be like next week when he gets to move home to his old room.  He can’t wait to paddle out on that board again!

The activities for the day were kept mellow.  He was able to chill out on the couch and watch a movie.

Kicken back at home, watching a movie.

Kickin back at home, watching a movie.

Matt said, “It’s nice to sit and watch a movie with my Mom and Nancy and eat popcorn.”  He enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal prepared by family friend Dawn Bolen.

First meal at home.  Thanks Dawn!!

First meal at home. Thanks Dawn!!

This was the trial run before Matt comes home for good in a few days.  They all had a really great day.  Matt’s mom Debbie lovingly joked that Matt had better be on his best behavior or they’d send him on back to the hospital.  Matt got a good laugh about this and agreed.

Matt eating his first meal home with his friend Nancy.

Matt eating his first meal home with his friend Nancy.

Congratulations to the entire Foushee family on this momentous occasion!

Thanks to all you Foush Followers for the continued support, prayers, well wishes and for sharing his story.  Matt knows you ALL have been a huge part of him doing as well as he is.

Matt will still require long-term specialized rehabilitation, most of which is not covered by insurance.  Thanks so much to all who have so generously donated! Donations in any form and amount help so much.  And thanks to those who have taken the time to share his story and fund-raising page.

Thanks to everyone for also spreading the word about Matt’s yoga fund-raiser at Bikram Yoga at The Camp.